tv [untitled] February 18, 2012 9:00am-9:30am EST
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 >> people say, gene kranz, you can't believe what you're saying. skyli lab to me was a differentr and focus as a team where we had -- the apollo missions were all short, in the order of ten days or so. and it's one thing to hold a team together and do all the right things, keep the quality for ten days, even though it's very intense. it's another thing to keep this team together for the best part
of the year. and to hand over not tens, but literally hundreds of problems every shift without a glitch. to have these loss of control because a control moment gyra that's holding the attitude is freezing up and this whole stacks base system starts tumbling. to recover from massive short in one of the power distributors that is scattering solder balls all over the inside of the spacecraft. to learn how to repair and replace things in flight, go back to brute force mechanics to fix the space systems. sky lab to me was -- it started off in a tough fashion, where, again, the flight control team literally fought, took over ground command of this thing and flew it by ground command, used half its all propellant scheduled for a year in the first week.
we were manually firing the thrusters and the jets. we couldn't see the sun. we used the most primitive, rudimentary -- i was one of the plotters, the flight directors called me into action. i was sitting in mission control every day for a year, me and frank. from the temperatures we would deduce the location of the sun and figure out where to maneuver it so we could find the proper balance between keeping sun to jun rate power through the solar rays, verses minimum temperature to keep everything in the inside from frying. we flew the spacecraft using simple plots, that way from the time until, again, the spectacular engineering team of johnson and marshall, cold come up with ways to replace the thermal shroud we lost and try to pluck one of the stuck solar arrays loose. they took pete conrad, paul
whites and joe kerwin and trot them to install all this stuff on an eva. these were the most wild e. v. a.s we had ever done since the gemini program. anyway, this was -- i looked forward -- pete frank and i who was flight director. we basically sat 12-hour shifts in mission control every day for a year, and we were absolutely delighted when a flight director would call for us to sit down at the console and maybe take a shift -- there was one time that was really anecdotal. at the end of the first sky lab mission, several flight directors went to receive awards in huntsville. you need a flight director on shift here. myself and carried the time frame while they were off getting their rewards. flight directors came back from the awards, took a look at what
we had done from the standpoint of flight planning, threw it all out and started from scratch on that day. the other thing that was neat, not really something, chuck lewis had been suffering from stomach problems all through the final mission until finally he required emergency surgery. so two weeks prior to the end of the mission i was recalled back to my flight director duties and sat his shift from the time he had the surgery until the mission was over. basically i had covered the gemini, the apollo and the sky lab missions as a flight director. it was probably the longest span in history of any of the flight directors doing business. >> couldn't keep the old war horse -- >> no. once you get into this busine business -- i was a pilot. i was a fighter pilot. when you left the cockpit, you really realized you lost the one
thing in life you treasured most. you also recognized there's a thing in life called the progress. you've got to keep moving forward. it was the same thing with leaving the console as a flight director. there is no question. any flight directors will say the happiest times of his life were on console. my job now was to continue building the teams and to continue the championship practices, the production of the caliber of the teams for the sky lab, the soyuz and into the shuttle program. so that became my job. >> what do you remember of astp? >> astp was to me the enigma of the entire program. i found it very difficult to believe that, first of all, we were abandoning sky lab, a very functional, useful space station, and we were committing resources, a launch vehicle and
a spacecraft to go after a purely political objective. they made a big deal about working with the russians and learning to do rendezvouses and fly-arounds. we had done that as early as the gem my program. there wasn't any technical aspect of doing this. i could not believe that we were giving up, an extended mission in the sky lab for a purely political set of objectives. i've never been a politician. i did not really focus maybe as well as i should upon this -- the broader set of political objectives because there has to be many constituencies in space. there are political, technical, what i would say keeping america working. there's a variety. i look at the one as most important, however, as giving young people a place to go, young people a dream to have to hold on to and to move into the future. that to me is the most important legacy of space. if it takes a political set of
objectives to do it, so be it. >> you were not too happy with the decision to end our first space station, even that space station introduced a whole new philosophy, didn't it? you're looking at the difference between a mission and a thing that stays up there day in and day out. >> the sky lab i believe was probably the most productive era of space science in the history of the program. we had four major classes of science. we had astronomy and we put astronomers on board outside the earth's atmosphere looking at the sun. we had marvelous relationships with major laboratories and scientific observatories that were interacting as a control team when the crew wasn't there, we would take over these instruments, point them, so we continued the scientific process in an unmanned fashion with ground control. we had medical experimentation where we continued to learn
about man in space, continued to probe the very unknowns about how long and how capable a man would be over an extended period of time. we continued to press the envelope from the standpoint of crew performance. we found a lot about the psychology of having a crew in space, on having the ability to communicate not only with themselves, but with their families to develop a comradery between the control team and the ground so that we feel what they feel and vice versa. the earth's resources to me was probably one of the most magnificent set of experiments. it was probably one of the most time critical experiments. we had finite resources and we had to commute these passes to a second by second bases, cameras on, off. we would look at the major hot spots, the areas of geologic interest, the areas where the ocean seemed to be doing things we didn't understand. then we had a series of
corollary experiments. we did such things as run furnaces and try to make -- everybody makes a kidding about making very small what are called micro spheres where you're making ball bearings in space. these had a reason, also. we were trying to develop manufacturing process. we had to find out what happens when metals melt together in a zero g environment. we had this perfect vacuum to work in. i really considered the abrupt termination of sky lab after only three manned missions almost hair et cal in fashion, almost like leaving the moon and to give up this very rapid process of learning for a mission that was purely political, made absolutely no sense to me. >> do you see a relationship, however, between the fact that now the russians and the united states are together and their
objective is to build a space station, a modernized version, if you will, of what sky lab once was? >> i believe that the process of work together internationally is incredibly important, but i guess i'm an american firster. i believe in america for americans. i don't believe that we've got a business-like relationship that is going to allow us to continue to work in space. you have to have a set of ground rules that are operational in nature, technology in nature. you cannot set a game plan that's totally political in nature. it isn't going to make sense to the participating countries, whether it be russia or america. i believe the problem we have with the international space station is that nobody in america really understands what's going on there, why we're doing this. we have done a very poor job of
selling this program. and i believe it is going to go the way of the lunar program. it's going to go the way of sky lab. but the problem is, you can't just walk out after the mission is over because you have this massive device up in earth orbit that has to be brought down in a controlled fashion, and it's again a horrible waste of financial resources within the united states, within russia, within the participating countries. the fact is, is that we have to come to a business-like set of agreements with the russians in the same fashion we have with the other participating countries, europe, japan and canada, and we have not yet established that kind of relationship. we continue to make executions for the financial problems they've got. we continue to make excuses for the lack of deliveries. the fact is, these were recognized in the early days of the program. the financial problems aren't going to go away. the technological problems aren't going to go away, but we
still want russia as a partner. but we also have to set up the game plan that is going the work for the next five, ten, 15 years. >> do you think it is possible to establish such a game plan? >> i believe that there is enough in space for all participants that, yes, we can establish such a game plan. we have to move beyond what i would say are the national -- i'd say almost ethnic relationships for building a relationship in space. russians verses americans. we have to look into it. what is good for our nation in a broader sense. what is good for our industry. what is good for our scientists. we have to move beyond the boundaries we've got. but to do that we have to have a better framework and we don't have it. >> one thing we do have today is the work horse, something called space shuttle. and you worked on that, and now the shuttles have flown in an immense number of flights very successfully. would you like to talk a little
about shuttle? >> i love the shuttle. john young said it's a magnificent flying machine. i look at the shuttle as the last hurrah of the mercury, gemini and apollo generation. it is the device that was founded in the principles that george lowe and rob berth gill reth established. carries forward the characteristics of strong leadership like a chris craft, deke slaton, aaron cohen, owen morris. basically if you take a look at how this device came into being, it is probably the most advanced technological space system that has ever been built and very interestingly enough it was built by a generation of people that today just really don't receive the recognition that they have or they should have for the commitment they made to america's -- in fact, the world's space capabilities.
i believe that the shuttle was the instrument that was built by the most gifted technologists, leaders and managers that ever existed within the space program. and i think this gift that they gave to the american people, the american public, the space business is never fully recognized. it's the most fundamentally reliable system, space system that has ever been built. it is a space system that has a broad range of missions. it's demonstrated itself fully capable of accomplishing every one of its design objectives. unfortunately it has not achieved the economies that were intended. to a great extent, these economies are not being achieved principally because of political limitations put on the program. at the time of the challenger accident, we were one of the world's premier launchers of
satellites from the shuttle. we had carried the majority of the department of defense payloads. we had done payload operations, carried laboratories for many of the countries in the world as well as providing a research laboratory for people in united states. with the stroke of a pen it is decided that we were unwilling to risk human life to deploy satellites that could be as well deployed in an unmanned fashion. we sort of lost track of our objectives. what we or after was continuing the operation of the premier launcher within all space systems of the world. and we're also trying to make this launcher economically feasible. unfortunately we lost sight of what our objectives were in the early phase of the program. we basically accepted a placebo for the loss of the challenger
crew. i think if they were here today, they would say we went the wrong way. >> do you think perhaps too much was asked of the space shuttle? it originally was conceived as something that wroub all things to all programs. perhaps that was asking too much. >> well, i'd say yes and no. i'm not quif kating in this. i think it literally was everything technically that we asked it to do. it could deploy, it could retrieve. it carried laboratories. it was a launcher for satellite systems you name it. anything that was asked of it technically got done. the one thing it did not become was the economic work horse that we had expected it to be. and i think this was part of this process within the nation we were using to sell programs to congress. you overstate their abilities. i don't think any operator ever
looked and said, hey, we're going to launch one of these guys every week. no matter how good your space system is, really, it wasn't that good. the technology wasn't quite there. it is not the dc-3 of the space program. it's back maybe a generation earlier in dc-3, some of the early douglas transport prototypes. i think you have to put this in the context of today and in the context of the future. i think it is essential to maintain many of these tech nomgs as a nation zoo that's were capable of protecting and providing for our own people before we start worrying about the peoples of the world. in order to take care of the peoples of the world, we need a strong economic base ourselves. i think we can see that today. as the economy of worlds are sinking and rising, we are the stabilizing influence. we're providing the funds to keep those people going. to do this we need a stable and
row best economy ourselves. to do this we need to continue to develop very new and very advanced technologies. to do this we have to find difficult objectives to go after because this is the forcing function for tough technologies. i think space is truly the last frontier for the development of very new advanced technologies. we've been living basically on the seed crop. the technologies of the '60s provided the technologies of the '70s. they're the ones we're using for this tremendous communications revolution we've got. we have to figure out where is the research and development coming from that allows us to stay on top of the job. i have concerns that we're not investing well in r&d. >> you may have answered my final question. you've been responding wonderfully well to everything
i've asked. it could be that i haven't asked the one question that would elicit what gene kranz really wants to say. with that in mind, this microphone, this camera is all yours, gene. >> i would like to -- i wish that as a nation we could set our sights much higher. i believe it is essential to have a national purpose. it is essential to maintain the pry nearing spirit that made this country great. it's the spirit that got us through this past century. it got us through world wars. it allowed us to move into a leadership role and it was a compassionate leadership role throughout the world. it is a nation that allowed us to step up to the challenge of the cold war and win it. it's a challenge that took the country to the moon. it took us into space. it made us the preeminent force in space. in the process of doing this, we
rekindled the pioneering spirit of a generation of people that grew up in the depression and came to adulthood in the '60s and carried space from the '60s through to the early '90s. i would like to find some way to sufficiently challenge a new generation of people to get them out of the "i" mode, into the "we" mode. to make them do something rather than be something. i'd like to give young people the same dream we had. i would like to find our nation unified, the world unified in the achievement of a common goal. i believe that space provides this. i believe difficult programs like mars would provide it. but unfortunately we do not have the national leadership that we need. we do not have aunt yoo states congress that really recognized the need for this country to continue to grow and invest in r&d. we don't have the national
leaders capable of stepping up and taking a difficult position and articulating why we must do something. i'm not interested in something for gene kranz. i'm interested in something for my children. i'm interested in something for my children's children. we are the only nation in the entire earth that is blessed with the types of freedom that we've had, that has the economic potential of a great nation composed of so many different ethnic groups and types of people that are capable of doing these types of things. so we must continue to force leadership to grow, and i was privileged and proud to be part of the years when leadership flourished in this mission control. there's not one flight director whoever left here who was not inspired to do something else and to do better. and i think that it is important for us to communicate, not only to people here at johnson. people are going to be looking
at these tapes. but the people of the nation, this very magnificent era that we all lived in, and maybe didn't look closely enough and find its true meaning. 50 years ago on february 20th, 1962 john glen became the first american astronaut to orbit the earth. next a 1962 universal news real about gwen's flight. the entire flight was just under five hours. this is six minutes. five hours before he is destined to take a giant stride into history, colonel john h. glenn junior squeezes into his space suit. it belies the ten postponements that kept him grounded. this morning the weather is better and the there's an air of
optimism as the colonel walks to the elevator carrying his familiar portable air conditioner. he prepares to go to the 11th deck as clocks point to 6:00 a.m. eastern standard time. the skies are we going to lighten and the cool north wind russells across the cape. >> the colonel's date with destiny comes ten months after the russians claimed and orbital flight and less than a year after alan shepard blased a supp orbital trail for the u.s. this is the climax of five years of training, when the eyes of the world turn to cape canaveral. the russian orbits were in a thick fog of sec see. the united states stands or falls in the white hot glare of worldwide publicity. in the capsule atop the missile, he'll be strapped to a couch.
once in flight the mercury will be timted so the astronaut will ride backwards. the seconds tick off as his rendezvous with space -- a defek fif bolt is discovered. then millions are moved to silent prayer. everything is go qulaim the takeoff of the atlas blasted off by 360,000 pounds of thrust carries the mercury gracefully skyward. friendship seven climbing out of the atmosphere exerts a pressure of six times the force of gravity on the affidavit fault. loud and clear he reports back to mercury control, reading off his instruments, commenting on his reactions. all is cooley and calmly as if he was commuting on the 827.
glenn is able to control the pitch of the vehicle himself. now comes the moment when the mercury is turned so glenn will be seated backwards. he checks with ground control. >> i feel fine. capsule is turning around. that view is tremendous. roger has started. capsule turning around. i can see the booster. it was beautiful. >> roger seven, you have a go, at least seven orbits. >> roger, understand, go for at least seven orbits. >> actual pictures of glenn in the capsule will give scientists the opportunity to study his reactions as he passes over the canary islands, africa, the indian ocean, australia, back as cross the pacific and over the united states. he speeds at 17,50 miles an hour, reaching a high point of 160 miles oovps and a low attitude of 99 miles.
each of the three orbits takes 90 minutes. three times the colonel sees the sunrise within the period of 4:56. three times around the gloesh for a trip of 81,000 miles before he he enters the earth's atmosphere, a shield protecting the astronaut from the intense heat. the carrier randolph is the command ship in the pickup area. glenn instructed not to jetson his rockets lands short of the area. indicating his heat shields were loose and he was instructed to hold on to his rocket bank to hold the shield in place. right at hand is the destroyer noaa, she speeds to the capsule. despite a few shaky moments among ground control personnel, glenn is down, a pencil-like crane will lift the frienip
the end of a famous friendship latched to the deck of the destroy and the crew prepares to help glenn from the capsule. first they attempt to help the colonel through the upper exit in the mouth. they encounter difficulties. so it is decided to blow off the escape hatch cover. first glimpse of the conquering hero. kernlg john h. glenn. he left his footprints among the stars. he has a grin as wide as the path he bleezed as he rests briefly before being flown to the carrier randolph by helicopter. he's lifted aboard in a maneuver that looks more dangerous than the flight itself.
the helicopter takes him to the randolph for a debriefing and examinations by medical men. he no sooner touches down on deck than glenn gets a preview of the congratulations that are still to come. on every hand there is jubilation. on every side smiles and cheers. he signs over his precious log and instruments to the national space administration. from here he goes to grand turk island for further rest before the deluge, a deluge of honors, a proud country waits to bestow on a brave man. ♪ 50 years ago on february 20th, 1962, john glenn became the first american astronaut to orbit the earth.
next the former astronaut and u.s. senator on the 40th anniversary in 2002. he spoke at the smithsonian national air and space museum in washington, d.c. this is an hour. >> thank you very much for that won deferful introduction. among the most pleasant tasks i have and rewarding tasks i have at t the privilege of working with john and annie glenn. i should refer to annie as professor glenn because she's an adjunct faculty member in our department of speech and hearing sciences. she delivered the keynote address at that department's annual john black symposium 18 months ago. as i think many of you know, annie has been honored for her work on communicative disorders an